TUESDAY: A Girl from Bismarck


Copyright is held by the author.

AFTER SPENDING 17 years in prison for drowning her two boys in her wash basin, Jenny finally returned home to Bismarck, excited to renew her life and to get laid by a real man and not some off-brand dyke with filthy fingers and degenerate props. With her trim figure and slithering strut, she probably wouldn’t have to wait long, but first, Jenny had to retrieve her children from her mother, a slobbering 400-pound beast whose true loves were Hostess Ho-Hos and nameless old men.

The bus dropped Jenny off at a state-sanctioned halfway house where her ma sat on the porch’s top step stuffed into her discount, flower-splattered muumuu. As Jenny stepped onto the sidewalk, her mama raised her arms and cried. “Baby darling, you’re home. Come give your old ma a hug and a kiss.” 

Looking scornfully at the filthy house and her equally filthy mother, Jenny dropped her suitcase onto the ground and said, “I’ll give you a kiss when you tell me where my babies are. For seventeen years, I begged you and all the devils in heaven to let me see them, and y’all did shit. Where are they?”

A young, spindly hawk-nosed man stepped out from behind the screen door.  “Jenny, you know your boys have long passed. Speak sense, or you will be back inside by the weekend.”

Jenny snarled at her parole officer, just another man not to trust. She’d let that piece of government garbage inside her too many times: ‘the price of freedom,’ he had insisted. Well, I’m free now, she thought, and rushed down the walkway, bounded up the steps, sidestepped her mother, and dug the toothbrush she had sharpened into a shive into his throat. 

The parole officer screeched like a crow and slapped at his crazy-ass client. Jenny, who weighed a drug-addled 90 pounds, fell backward and into her mother’s arms. Somehow mother and daughter remained upright, although they wobbled a bit like mismatched Weebles. 

Jenny fixed her stare on her PO, expecting to see buckets of blood gushing from his neck— a vision she had imagined since their first ‘appointment’ three years ago. 

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much blood, just a pissed-off 31-year-old dipshit clutching a broken toothbrush and rubbing a tiny puncture wound. In her anger and enthusiasm, Jenny had stabbed the wrong end of the makeshift weapon into his throat. 

“I’m going to let that pass,” her PO said,  “because I know you’re not a sane woman.”

A ring of fire formed in Jenny’s brain. Every neuron that should have turned left surged right — a few simply launched and fizzled like cheap bottle rockets.  Chemicals formed fascinating new compounds. Compulsions, once constrained, ran freely. 

Jenny shoved her mother aside.  With the war cry she had learned from her first cellmate, Jenny launched herself at the PO again, whom Jenny had long concluded looked more like a squirrel than a human, so who could blame her if the little rodent met an unkind end? Pest control, Jenny decided. Valid and warranted. 

Her mother, however, thought otherwise. Her fat fleshy hand grabbed Jenny’s ponytail, pulled hard, and tossed her daughter backward. Jenny tumbled down the porch — smacking her head twice before landing at the base of the steps. 

For the next few minutes, Jenny watched ribbons of green and yellow light shimmy in the early evening sky. Comets streaked across the heavens. New stars formed while old died. Amid the spectacular show, her mother’s and parole officer’s faces hung above her like misshapen moons. In the distance, she heard the cries of her two young boys thrashing in the wash basin, their tiny arms and legs flailing helplessly as Jenny’s hands throttled their throats.

As blood pooled in her brain, Jenny realized that a whole new wide, and wonderful world at long last awaited her: A world where happiness and misery weren’t decided by parental malfeasance or fourth-rate DNA, just she and her boys united and freed until the last stars blinked out. 

Jenny looked up at her parole officer-slash-rapist and mother-slash-murderer and searched for the final perfect words, an elegant soliloquy worthy of a woman of education and class and not one who had grown up trading her body and soul for scraps of food and affection.

As her final breaths abated, Jenny remembered a passage from her favorite book, the only one she had ever finished — an illustrated edition of The Wizard of Oz.  

Jenny grinned at her abusers. With unexpected, perhaps even miraculous, elegance, Jenny said: “In a few minutes, I shall be all melted, and you pricks shall have this shit hole town to yourself.” It wasn’t a perfect reading, but close enough for a girl from Bismarck.


Image of Frank T. Sikora

He lives in Waterford, Wisconsin with his wife, Holly, an English teacher. His work has been published online and in print in Canada and the U.S. Every once in a while one of his flash fiction pieces will win an award, which his wife will acknowledge with a smile and a comment, such as, “It still needs a middle, sweetheart.”

  1. Frank

    Dramatic, succinct and wrenching. The parole officer seems to have deliberately lain in wait for Jenny to come home. Nasty piece of work. You hold the reader throughout and nudge the reader onto Jenny’s side. Yes. Jenny is probably better off with her boys than staying in Bismarck. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Another instalment of Jenny and why she can’t go home to Bismark anymore, tersely flows from the inimitable pen of Frank Sikora. Bismark. Crumpets! No wonder they’re dysfunctional. A wonderfully sick, hilarious account, Frank. No one does it quite like you. But it still lacks a middle.

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